Advising at Southern Miss

 

Advising at Southern Miss

 

Who Is My Advisor?

All students are assigned an academic advisor when they declare a major. You can find out who your assigned advisor is by logging in to your SOAR account and going to your Student Center. Your advisor will be listed in the right hand column. Click the details link to send your advisor an email or get your advisor's office phone number. If you plan to call your advisor, remember that faculty spend a lot of time teaching, researching, and serving on university committees, and may only be in their offices during their official office hours.

 

Why Do I Need an Advisor?

Getting a degree is more complicated than just attending classes. There's paperwork to fill out, deadlines to pay attention to, and a degree plan that needs to be followed to make sure you take all the classes you need to graduate on time. Your advisor can help you through all of these things. In addition, your advisor is a valuable resource for letters of recommendation, internship and career advice, and helping you choose classes, minors, and double majors that will help you on the career path you choose. 

 

Can I Change Advisors?

Your advisor should be someone you feel comfortable talking with about how things are going. If you find a professor in your department that you particularly like, most departments are willing to switch your advisor if you call the department office. You can find your department's contact information by going to the University's Academics page and clicking Colleges. Once you've navigated to your college, you'll be able to view the departments in the college, and all department home pages list contact information.

 

 

 

Schedule an appointment during your department's advising period.

Advisors block off a lot of time during the scheduled advisement period to talk to students. While you can meet with your advisor any time to talk about career choices or difficulties you're having in your classes, make your main advisement appointment during the advisement period to ensure that you get into all the classes you want. Advisement for Fall happens in March, and Spring advisement is in October, but different departments may advise at different times, so check with the department office for exact dates. Once you have scheduled an appointment, show up on time! If for some reason you cannot make it to your scheduled appointment, email your advisor as soon as possible to let him/her know, and ask if you can reschedule at a time that is convenient for him/her.

 

Respond to your advisor's emails. 

If your advisor emails you before advisement to let you know when s/he will be available to meet (or emails you any time to let you know about important deadlines coming up) make sure you respond in a timely manner. 

 

Build a relationship with your advisor.

The better your advisor knows you, the more s/he will be able to help you. Make sure you let your advisor know which classes you like and which classes you're struggling with, and if you're in danger of failing a class, talk to your advisor about resources on campus that offer academic tutoring. Make sure your advisor knows what career path you're interested in, or ask for suggestions if you're not sure yet. Advisors have a wealth of information about employment opportunities for people in your field; take advantage of it.

 

Prepare for appointments ahead of time.

Advisors will check your schedule and make sure you are on track to graduate, and will sometimes suggest alternative courses that might be more tailored to your future career, but you should already have a tentative schedule (either enroll in the classes outright or put them in your SOAR shopping cart) before your appointment. If you're unsure what to register for, check out your degree progress report in SOAR by navigating to your Student Center under Self Service and choosing Advisement/Degree Progress Report from the drop down box under Academics. This will show you all the classes you still need to take in order to graduate. You can also download a PDF of your degree plan, which will allow you to see all the requirements at a glance, and you can view the complete Southern Miss schedule to choose electives that interest you.  

 

 

Advising Quick Links

 

 
  

 

Advising FAQ

 

What classes should I take next semester?
  • Before you meet with an advisor, you should look at the requirements for your major and at the classes offered next semester. You can see these in SOAR or by clicking on your major from this list. Each degree has a semester-by-semester guide that will let you know which classes you should take.  
  • Look in SOAR for what is offered in spring semester, then create a draft schedule and put it in your shopping cart or planner in SOAR. As you are thinking about what to take, consider how much time you have to spend on your classes. You should plan to spend 6-9 hours a week studying for each 3-credit hour course you take. If you work or have other obligations, plan carefully!
  • Think also about your strongest and weakest areas academically, and try to create a schedule combination that will not overload you.

 

About those interim grades… I’m struggling in one of my classes. Should I drop it and take a W?
  • Check out the academic resources available to you. Perhaps learning about note-taking would help, too. If you think you can redeem the class and get the grade you need, stick it out.

  • If you are sure that you can’t turn your grade in the class around, talk with your professor and be sure. If you still want to drop it, you can log in to SOAR and request a W in the class. Assuming your professor approves, then you will have a W instead of a grade (the W has no impact on your GPA).

I need to take another class. How can I find half-semester courses for the second half?
  • Second half-semester courses run from the midpoint in the semester until the end of the semester for a total of 8 weeks. You can find start and end dates for 8WK2 classes in the Academic Calendar.
  • You can search for them in SOAR—under the “session” pull-down menu, choose “Eight Week–Second.”

What should I talk with my advisor about?
  • Your advisor is there to make sure that you are making good plans for what classes to take in the upcoming semester. He or she is also there to help you think about ways to improve your performance in school and get ready for your next step after Southern Miss.

  • Before you talk with your advisor, consider your plans for the upcoming years as a student or, if you are in your junior or senior year, for after you graduate. Think of questions to ask your advisor about study abroad, internships, volunteering, ways you can get involved on campus, or perhaps tips on how to gain experience to help with applying for jobs or graduate school.

What if I’m thinking about changing my major?
  • Talk to your advisor. He or she may have advice.

  • If you KNOW you want to be in a different major, contact that department to see if someone there would be willing to meet with you and talk with you about what classes you will need to take to complete the new major. Even through you aren’t officially “their” major, they typically can meet and look at your plans to give you advice.

  • If you DON’T know what you want to major in, check out all your options.

  • You also should visit Career Services to talk with someone there. They have many online resources as well that can help you identify good areas for you to pursue for both a major and a career. You can start talking with them as early as your first semester.

What if I have no idea what I want to do with my life?

  • You are not alone. Many students struggle to select a major and, later, to identify a next step.

  • Talk to your advisor, and talk with other people on campus who can help. You should definitely visit Career Services and take some of their assessments to see which direction(s) they point you in based on your interests.

  • Talk to professors whose classes you enjoy. They can help you think about your interests and possible majors as well.

  • Talk to other students to learn about their experiences and the options they have found.

  • Volunteer—learn about yourself while helping the community. The Office of Community and Civic Engagement can help you find a place to serve.

  • Seek an internship. Career Services can help, but don’t be afraid to search the web yourself—you might find some interesting options than can help you clarify what you should do.

  • Still at a loss? Contact Dr. Amy Miller at a.c.miller@usm.edu, and we will do what we can to connect you with other people to help you find your way.